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Characterization Of An Ineffective Actinorhizal Microsymbiont, Frankia Sp. EuI1 (Actinomycetales)

Dwight Baker, William Newcomb, John G. Torrey

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The actinomycete, Frankia sp. EuI1, isolated from root nodules of Elaeagnus umbellata is an infective endophyte but which lacks the ability to form an effective nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with its host. This ineffective organism can be distinguished easily from other frankiae, in vitro, on the basis of size, morphology, and the elaboration of a diffusible pigment. Cross-inoculation studies indicated that the host range of this symbiont is narrow and probably restricted to the Elaeagnaceae. In all cases of nodulation the symbiosis never developed nitrogenase activity and the microsymbiont never produced endophytic vesicles within the infected host cells. Sporangia were produced in vivo and in vitro so the morphogenetic block is apparently restricted to vesicle formation.